Buenos Aires Finance Assingment Help With Solution
Toyota Replants Itself Near Emerging Markets To Sustain Smooth Ride
By Norihiko Shirouzu and Jathon Sapsford
Buenos Aires – Martinic Drasko wants 50 new pickup trucks to lease to oil companies that operate in Argentina’s hinterlands. But he doesn’t want just any truck.
Mr. Drasko says he has tried Ford Ranger and Chevy S10 pickups and a Brazilian-built Nissan truck, but no vehicle has proved more reliable than Toyota Motor Corp.‘s Hilux model. „If you break down in remote oil fields, and it’s winter, you’re cooked, “ he says.
Now, Toyota is banking on a new version of this sturdy workhorse and a couple of related models it will sell mostly in the developing world as a key part of its strategy to overtake General Motors Corp. as the world’s No 1 car maker. The retooled pickup is Toyota’s 21st-century answer to the Ford model T, a vehicle for the masses that is versatile, inexpensive and highly reliable.
But Toyota is also taking a big gamble on its reputation for quality with its new emerging-market strategy: It is dumping its high-cost plants in Japan as a source of critical components.
For years, Toyota has followed a widely successful formula. It assembled cars in and near local markets, providing jobs and making the products less foreign. But the company produced those cars with engines, transmissions and other key components brought in from the company’s world-beating Japanese factories.
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That emerging-market business model fell apart during the currency crisis that struck Southeast Asia in the late 1990s. Suddenly, Japanese-made components were prohibitively expensive for buyers using devalued Asian currencies.
So Toyota devised a new approach. It is building the new Hilux and related models in developing countries using parts made almost entirely in factories strategically located to take advantage of regional free-trade zones and low cost labor.
With the new strategy, the company hopes to boost its sales numbers while damping the risks that foreign-currency conversions will eat up all of its profits. But the big question is whether Toyota can keep quality to its lofty standards even as it moves to build more of its cars outside Japan.
The new Hilux truck, the first of a wave of vehicles built on a single, low-cost vehicle platform known inside Toyota as “IMV,” shorthand for “innovative international multipurpose vehicle,” hit the marketplace in Thailand last August.
Crucial Part of Push
If the strategy succeeds as planned, the Hilux and its related vehicles – a sport-utility vehicle and a minivan – will be a crucial part of Toyota’s ambitious push to grab a 15% slice of the global auto market by 2010. It had a 12% share at the end of 2004, according to CSM Worldwide, a research firm in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Toyota expects the new family of emerging-market vehicles to sell an additional 500,000 units over the old Hilux line, which has consistently generated global sales of 250,000 vehicles a year. That is about a third of the 1.6 million additional vehicles the company needs to sell annually if it is to overtake GM for the top spot. Toyota has no plans to sell the Hilux pickup and its related vehicles in the U.S.
This week, Toyota parked three IMV models outside the hotel ballroom where the company disclosed its latest annual sales and profits. Inside, Toyota President Fujio Cho said the IMV was the main reason Toyota’s sales in developing markets from Asia to Africa jumped by 362,000 cars, more than the combined increase in sales for developed markets of Japan, Europe and North America.
Big Western and Japanese auto makers have long sold cars and trucks in less affluent, developing countries. But few auto makers have tried a project as ambitious as Toyota’s “IMV” strategy. Toyota wouldn’t say how much it spent to develop the new platform and the three basic models based on it, but the company said it sank in at least $1.4 billion, or roughly €1.1 billion, so far to update or build manufacturing facilities in Argentina, India, Indonesia, Thailand and South Africa, among other countries, for the project.
The IMV architecture, a basic vehicle building block known in the industry as a chassis, is designed to support a family of rugged vehicles. The vehicles, including the Innova minivan and the Fortuner SUV in addition to the Hilux, will be marketed in 140 emerging-market countries.
By using low-wage factories to make major components, Toyota can offer the new trucks at prices well below the norm in markets like the U.S. The Hilux pickup, the most significant model of the new vehicle family, sells for between $9,900 and $21,700 in Thailand, for example. In the U.S., a Toyota Tacoma compact pickup – essentially the same size as a Hilux – starts at $13,415.
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